Thoughts from the Treadmill: Connecting
Almost didn’t get this post out on time this week. I lost connectivity to the Internet four days ago, just as I was about to send some very critical information to my editor and to some friends who were helping me with my current project. Fortunately, I receive email on my iPhone, so I could stay in touch that way, but I wasn’t able to send anything from my computer files to anyone. Although I guess I sort of knew how much I depended on the Internet, it took something like this incident to reinforce the message.
It’s scary, realizing how much I’ve come to depend on the Internet, especially since so much of my time is now devoted to writing and promoting e-books. It’s even scarier to realize how limited my knowledge is when it comes to problemsolving computer issues. I tried. I spent all day last Thursday attempting to bring it back to life. I even thought I’d identified one or two probable culprits, but I just couldn’t resolve them.
Finally, I contacted the young man who is responsible for the A-V work at our local university and asked if he’d consider helping. To my delight, he said he does this all the time, so Saturday he came over to check things out. He let me start by telling him what I’d been doing just before everything went wonkers and giving my “diagnosis” what was wrong. Then he went to work. It was fascinating to watch him do his thing, almost like observing my friend play a concerto on her baby grand. It didn’t take him long to spot the problem. Then it took several more minutes for him to uninstall and then install different applications.
While he worked, we chatted. I was curious about his background. How does someone pick up so much information about this entity I depend on so much and understand so little? He had a year in toward a business degree, then decided to go a different direction, to a technical college, when tuition became too steep. He was very insightful, comparing the way he learned about changes in the industry and how one thing related to another just by talking to his peers and reading up on new developments on the Internet to how I, as an author, kept up with changes in the publishing world. He meant well, and his analogy was pretty spot on. It’s just that my attempts at keeping up with things are somewhat hit and miss, as something either pops up or I need to research a particular subject. Or maybe I have picked up more than I realize? Anyway, what really surprised me was when he told me his age: twenty-two. My granddaughter is almost that age. I could conceivably have a grandchild his age.
I continue to marvel at how the younger generations are so much more proficient with technology. At a recent gathering of friends my age, one of the women remarked about how a friend still had a rotary-dial landline phone. Younger neighbors needed to use it and weren’t able to until they asked. They had never seen one. When I was growing up and first using the telephone, I had to tell the operator the five-digit number I wanted. That’s how much things have changed. So I guess I shouldn’t beat myself up that I can’t figure out how to fix certain computer problems. After all, I am using it. (Daily, hourly – boy do I know that after the last few days!)